People in Wigan & Leigh are being urged to wear their poppy with pride to show support for Armed Forces families, who are the focus of The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal 2013.
This call to action came from the DW Stadium where The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal was launched by Wigan's sporting champions.
The FA Cup, the Tetley's Challenge Cup and the Grand Final Winners' Cup will each be filled with poppies and held jointly by local serving soldiers and team players to mark the town's unique place this year as sporting centre of the country.
Connections between the clubs and the military are particularly strong in Wigan and local Captain Jimmy Aspinall, from the Army Reserve Centre (formerly TA Centre on Canal St) is himself steeped in rugby league and well known at the DW.
Captain Jimmy Aspinall said:
"Wigan Army Reserve soldiers are once again very honoured to have been asked to take part in the Poppy Appeal launch at the DW Stadium by the Royal British Legion. For many year's the Army Reserves have had a special relationship with both Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic and have supported each other at many events both in the Stadium and at the Army Reserve Centre. It is absolutely fantastic that the appeal is being launched on the back of the towns sporting successes and I am sure the whole town, as ever, will show their support and respect by wearing their poppies again with pride. I have been involved with rugby league for many years and have only recently stood down from being the Great Britain & English Community Lions rugby league manager, I have known many of the players and staff over the years who have always given their support to the Armed Forces for which we are very grateful".
Warriors Owner and Chairman Ian Lenagan said;
"Wigan Warriors are delighted to support the 2013 Poppy Appeal and fully appreciate the fine work done for the Armed forces both past and present by the charity."
Wigan Athletic Owner and Chairman Dave Whelan commented;
"I am delighted to be here to launch this year's Wigan Poppy Appeal in support of all our Armed Forces community. Every donation received for a poppy will make a real difference to the lives of Armed Forces families."
The Poppy Appeal national target of £37 million will enable the Legion to continue its vital work delivering direct, practical care and support to the Armed Forces community.
The Royal British Legion Director of Fundraising Charles Byrne said:
"We support the entire Armed Forces community past and present, but families are at the heart of the Poppy Appeal 2013.
"We recognise the strength of mothers, fathers, partners and kids in Armed Forces families, who serve alongside their loved ones every single day, and often need practical care and advice too.
"We're encouraging people to dig deep for the Poppy Appeal, so we can continue providing this vital support to individuals whether they're still serving, transitioning back to civilian life or have left the Services, but importantly to their dependents too."
The Legion provides wide ranging, and practical support to Armed Forces families in need, including crisis grants, family breaks, benefits and money advice and at times sadly, inquest advice.
Every poppy helps raise the £1.6 million needed by the Legion each week to deliver practical help and advice to Armed Forces community.